The Chase for the Sprint Cup Series championship moves to Kansas Speedway for the Hollywood Casino 400.
The first stop of the season in Kansas back in early May resulted in Joe Gibbs Racing driver Kyle Busch ($10,000) holding off a gang of Chevrolets for his first-career victory in 17 starts at the track. Kansas wasn’t a strong track for the driver of the No. 18 early in his career, but NASCAR’s Loop Data shows he has a 6.0 Average-Finish Position (AFP) over the past five races to lead all drivers while posting a solid 104.2 Driver Rating, fourth-best on the circuit.
Over the past five starts at Kansas, Stewart-Haas Racing’s Kevin Harvick ($10,900) has a 121.6 Driver Rating with 254 laps led and 88.6 percent of his laps turned inside the Top 15, according to NASCAR’s Loop Data. Harvick is second with a 6.8 AFP and 254 laps. Over 21 career starts at the track, Harvick has five Top 5s, 10 Top 10s and 475 laps led with a 10.8 AFP, fourth-best among all drivers with at least two starts at the track. Harvick was the runner-up in the early May race in Kansas.
(DraftKings.com salaries in parentheses)
Harvick’s teammate, Kurt Busch ($8,800), is one of the final 12 combatants for the championship, and a stop at Kansas might be just what the doctor ordered for his championship aspirations if only he can replicate his finish from early May at the track. He finished third in the first race, but it was just his second Top 5 in 21 starts at Kansas. He has a 17.1 AFP with 259 laps led in his career at Kansas, so despite his earlier third-place finish he is a risky Fantasy play based on his overall body of work at the track.
Hendrick Motorsports driver Jimmie Johnson ($10,600) took checkers last weekend at Charlotte, and he has moved into the third round of the Chase. Don’t write him off this weekend, however, as he’ll be just as hungry in Kansas. Over the past five starts at the track, Johnson ranks outside the Top 10 in Driver Rating but he has three wins, eight Top 5s and 16 Top 10s with a 9.2 AFP in 20 career starts to lead all drivers. His 601 laps led are the second-most among all active drivers.
Johnson’s rookie teammate, Chase Elliott ($9,500), rolled to a ninth-place finish in his first-career start at Kansas earlier in the season, and his Chase championship hopes are alive and well. He bombed out at Charlotte with a 33rd-place finish, but he had a strong car and was on his way to another strong finish before he was involved in a wreck. Elliott is a must-have C-list driver in Yahoo! Sports this week if you still have starts left. Hendrick’s Kasey Kahne ($8,500) might not be in the Chase, but he is performing like a championship-caliber driver lately. He finished third at Charlotte last weekend, and he has finished in the Top 10 in five of his past six races overall. As a mid-tier driver, Kahne is running hot and has re-emerged as a must-start Fantasy option in all formats. Kahne is also the 13th-most expensive option in NASCAR’s Fantasy Live, at $24.00 making him a tremendous steal in that game.
JGR’s Matt Kenseth ($8,700) won in Kansas in October 2012, and again in April 2013. He also ranks fifth in Driver Rating at 102.3 over the past five races with 158 laps led. He was a runner-up last weekend, and he is averaging a 4.5 AFP over the past four races to make him a great value in DFS play. Kenseth finished fourth in the first race of the season at Kansas and is a must-have Fantasy play with this soft pricing, which is likely the direct result of a logarithm, including his 38th place showing at Richmond back on Sept. 10. Take advantage.
Carl Edwards ($8,900), a native of nearby Missouri, has always shown well at Kansas Speedway, his home track. He has never won in 18 career starts at the tri-oval, but he has six Top 5s, 12 Top 10s and an impressive 10.6 AFP. He is a safe play worth using as a No. 3 or 4 option. JGR’s Denny Hamlin ($9,000) has one win in 16 Kansas starts while posting four Top 5s with a 16.8 AFP. He is slightly less attractive from a Fantasy perspective due to his poor AFP and higher salary than some of his more reasonably priced teammates.
Penske Racing’s Brad Keselowski ($9,700) has a win in 13 Kansas starts, and his 95.6 Driver Rating over the past five starts ranks him seventh among all drivers. He ranks fifth with a 12.1 AFP at Kansas, posting seven Top 10s and 11 Top 20s. His teammate, Joey Logano ($9,200), has had mixed results at the track, winning twice in 14 starts. However, he also has two DNFs and just five finishes inside the Top 10, so Logano is a risky Fantasy option.
Kansas hasn’t been one of Martin Truex Jr.‘s ($11,100) best tracks until recently. Over his past five starts he is third in Driver Rating at 104.4, leading all drivers with 267 laps while running 73.1 percent of his laps inside the Top 15. With two low-priced drivers you can afford MTJ in your lineup.
Among the lower-priced options, HScott Motorsports driver Clint Bowyer ($7,300) is a native of the Sunflower State of Kansas, and he always seems to bring a little extra something to this track. In 16 career starts he has yet to win, but he has finished outside of the Top 20 just five times. As a No. 4 or 5 driver, he is a solid Fantasy option. Ryan Blaney ($7,500) doesn’t have a ton of experience at the track, but all three of his starts have netted solid results. In three starts he has finished 27th, seventh and fifth, posting a 13.0 AFP. The fifth-place showing for Blaney came in the first stop this season. At $15.75 he is particularly attractive in NASCAR’s Fantasy Live.
Roush Fenway Racing’s Greg Biffle ($7,100) had a good car at Charlotte last weekend, but a speeding penalty on pit road and then a wreck turned a solid day into another poor one. That has been the way of it lately for the No. 16, but he has had solid performances in Kansas in the past. In 20 career starts he has two wins, seven Top 5s and 17 Top 20s at the track, posting a 12.1 AFP which is sixth-best among all drivers.
Richard Childress Racing’s Paul Menard ($6,400) is a tremendous DraftKings value based on his overall history at Kansas. He has made 15 starts, posting one Top 5, five Top 10s and 11 Top 20s with a solid 17.6 AFP. As a No. 6 driver he is a tremendous Fantasy option in DraftKings, and at $16.25 he isn’t a bad No. 4 driver in NASCAR’s Fantasy Live.
If you need to save even more money, Richard Petty Motorsports driver Brian Scott ($5,200) is worth a look. He posted a respectable 22nd-place finish at the first Kansas race this season, and he was 12th in his first try at the track last season. As such he is a great No. 6 Fantasy salary saver in DraftKings. If you’re really pressed for cash, Michael Annett ($4,800) has five starts at Kansas, posting a 27.6 AFP. He isn’t great, but he has never finished lower than 34th.
NASCAR FANTASY LINEUPS FOR KANSAS
|No.||Driver||DraftKings Salary||No.||Driver||Fantasy Live Salary||No.||Yahoo! Sports Driver|
|1||Kevin Harvick||$10,900||1||Matt Kenseth||$27.00||1||Matt Kenseth|
|2||Carl Edwards||$8,900||2||Carl Edwards||$26.00||2||Kasey Kahne|
|3||Matt Kenseth||$8,700||3||Kasey Kahne||$24.00||3||Carl Edwards|
|4||Kasey Kahne||$8,500||4||Ryan Blaney||$15.75||4||Chase Elliott|
|5||Ryan Blaney||$7,500||5||Brian Scott||$6.50|